Navigation Bar

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Reality of Slavery

This morning as I was laying out by the pool spending time with Jesus, I was surprised by this verse. Exodus 6:9 says "Moses spoke to the people of Israel, but they did not listen because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery." I thought how many times have I not listened because of a broken spirit and slave mentality? And it made me think of all the people that I've prayed and believed for that haven't changed or listened because of a broken spirit and slave mentality. This verse changed the way I pray for people in one moment. Rather than praying for specific behavior changes, I should be praying for their broken spirit to be restored and for a transfer from a slave mentality to son or daughter identity. This has to happen before we can listen to God and obey what He says. So much of our walk with God starts with believing the truth. 

I thought back to my own story before I started following Jesus. My freshmen and sophomore year of high school I lived under a broken spirit and slave mentality. Because I did not know how to receive love from the Father, nor did I know who Jesus said I was, I was broken. I tried to find my identity and self-worth in what others thought of me. This led to many bad decisions and compromises. I felt as though I were under the expectations and opinions of others. I attempted to conform my words, clothing choices, musical preferences and behavior to what I believed others would accept. I lived as if I were a slave to sin, rather than a slave of righteousness. But it was all false. I wasn't under other's expectations. Only under His truth. I just didn't believe it yet. 

Romans 6:16-18, 22 says "Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life."

When I gave my life to Jesus and committed to following Him the summer of 2007, I became a slave to righteousness, rather than sin. I am so thankful that Jesus rescued me from a broken sinful place and set me free! Now I get to take part in the process of sanctification and can look forward to spending eternity with my Rescuer and Father. Choosing Jesus was the best decision I've ever made. And although believing the truth has been a process, it has slowly changed me. It started with reading His Word and memorizing it, so that I wouldn't forget the truth. I hope this challenges you to either start believing the truth or to pray for someone who needs to. Let us become slaves of righteousness, who live in the reality of our son or daughter identity rather than the harsh & false reality of slavery. You were made for more than that. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Higher Things

I've been struck over and over again by this verse in scripture. Paul says "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Paul pretty clearly defines what our thoughts should be about. Colossians 3:2 says "And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth." As followers of Jesus we're called to keep our minds and thoughts on the higher things, on the things above. Not on earthly distractions. We're made for the higher things. So that's where our minds and hearts should be focused.

This morning when I was spending time with Jesus, I felt prompted to look up the definition of each of the words Paul uses in Philippians 4:8. Here is the list of definitions I found:

true: in accordance with fact or reality
honorable: deserving or winning honor or respect; beyond reproach, blameless
just: based on what is morally right and fair
pure: not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material; free from dirt or taint; clean
lovely: exquisitely beautiful; inspiring love or affection
commendable: deserving praise; represented as worthy, qualified or desirable
excellent: extremely good; of the highest or finest quality
praiseworthy: deserving approval and admiration

Each of these words points to the higher things. Things higher than ourselves. For we have the honor and privilege of giving ourselves to something bigger than us: the Kingdom of God. Our thoughts belong in the higher places. For if we keep them on earthly things, it inhibits us from dwelling on and in the higher things.

Did you know you were made for the higher things? You were made to be in relationship with the God of the universe, who is ABOVE ALL THINGS! You belong to a God who values you. When we catch a hold of our identity then it prompts us to look above rather than below. It shifts our gaze from downward on ourselves to upward on Jesus. So let us be people who dwell on the higher things. Because that's what we were made for. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In Honor of My Mom

Although my mom doesn't need a holiday for me to tell her how great she is, I thought today seemed appropriate to post about her. If you don't know my mom I hope this gives you a glimpse of who she is. If you do, well, maybe you'll learn something new.

First off, my mom has one of the most incredible stories. Hearing her talk of Jesus' redemption has changed my life. I am reminded of Psalm 40:2 when I think of her testimony. It says "He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure." Although she came from a broken place, she responded to Jesus and was saved by such sweet grace! Because of her decision to follow Jesus, she has paved the way for our whole family to walk in a new heritage. A heritage of freedom and grace. What a blessing to come after such a woman!

My mom is the best planner I know. She is able to see the big picture and plan accordingly. She is organized, thorough and always one to check all the options before making a decision. This enables her to make submitted decisions that impact her and those around her in the best ways. I have felt so covered by my mom as she has helped me through so many processes. She has taught me to weigh the consequences and benefits before moving forward. Because of her I have learned how to exercise discernment in decision making.

My mom is also one of the best communicators I know. She was a speech teacher for several years and taught me most of what I know about communicating. How appropriate that I'm now a communications major. Some of my favorite memories with my mom were when she homeschooled me in middle school and coached me in forensics & debate. It was during that time that I realized that she is always 100% behind me and for me. I'm thankful for ways she taught me how to communicate and walk in confidence! 

My mom is so good at taking care of people. My mom pays attention to the little details, but she also empowers people to do things on their own. Because she knows life doesn't depend on her, she is good at equipping people with tools to succeed and practical ways to walk out in their gifts. She knows the balance between taking care of me and teaching me to do things myself. Thank you mom for teaching me well.

She's also really good at what she does. She recently accepted a position as director of a local nonprofit! Check out their home page here.

Mom, I hope you feel honored today! I love you. (And thanks for being one of my 3 blog followers. :))

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Ultimate Host

Last night my roommate Lindie and I hosted a finals study break party. I love hosting parties and everything that comes along with it. I love baking. I love decorating. I love dressing up. Preparing for our breakfast-for-dinner party was by far the most refreshing part of my week. 

I'm convinced Jesus is the best host. He did, afterall, leave to go and prepare a place for us. John 14:2-4 says "My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."

I can't even imagine what kind of place Jesus is preparing right now. He must be so excited for His guests to arrive! If I get this excited for a party to happen, imagine how much Jesus gets excited for His cherished ones to enter in and see what He's prepared. It will be nothing short of absolute glory. He knows us so intimately and prepares the details to perfection so that we will be in absolute awe of what He's created. Oh my heart is longing to be in that place today! To spend eternity in the place He's prepared. What an honor and privilege.

Thus, we get to tap into His heart when we host things! The small satisfaction I receive from hosting people is but a glimpse to the joy & anticipation Jesus must have. Below are a few pictures my roommate took of the night. (They're from an iphone, so don't mind the quality). We wanted to end the year in thankfulness, so we each shared things we thankful for and pinned them up!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Things I'm enjoying at the moment/am thankful for:

1. This album. I've felt so refreshed listening to this music.
2. my front porch. God knows how many hours I've spent out here. It has become one of my fav places to be.
3. pink peonies.
4. dark chocolate.
5. hammocks. I could spend all day in one of these.
6. coffee, especially with white chocolate mocha creamer. I'm on my 3rd cup of the day.
7. sleeping in.
8. the Word of God. We have the privilege of sitting with the author as we read it.
9. nail polish, especially Pink Flamenco by OPI.
10. This book. I can only read chunks at a time, because I want to digest it all, but it's SO GOOD.

Peonies from my front yard.
Hammocking in the park.
Drinking coffee on the porch.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Reasons Behind the Risk

For some of you this may be repetitive, but for others it may be new. Several people have asked me about my move to Lawrence this year and thought I'd take some time to explain it. (Although this isn't the whole story, it will hopefully give you an idea of why I'm here). Let me preface this post by saying this semester has been one of the most unexpected, adventurous, fun, fast-paced & deep seasons. I honestly don't want to be anywhere else but right in the middle of the will of God. And there's something so sweet, peaceful & intimate about knowing you are in that place.

Last September I visited Lawrence to stay with my friend, Missy Patterson. Friendship with Missy has been such a joy over the past 3 years. It was sort of unexpected and definitely surprising, but so sweet and so good. We met at church camp and the Lord gave us grace to go deep in friendship rather quickly. I was so excited to visit Missy for a second time. She told me about new ways God was moving in Lawrence and I was honored to get to see a glimpse of it. I left feeling encouraged and excited. I had no idea I would be calling Lawrence my home in just a few short months.

In October my parents and I started talking about the possibility of transferring schools. This had never occurred to me and the thought was sad and even scary. I absolutely loved being at Baylor. [My life has been radically changed by the community & kingdom culture I was brought into. What a sweet 2 and a half years I got to spend in Waco.] Although I cried at the thought of leaving, I started asking the Lord if he wanted me to transfer. I sent in my application to KU and received my acceptance letter a few weeks later.

Upon receiving that letter, Jesus reminded me several things. He called me to pray for the city of Lawrence my freshmen year of college. Those prayers were invested and not forgotten. And now I was invited to join the move of God happening in the place my heart had prayed for. What a joy and honor! Jesus is so faithful to the dreams he places in our hearts, even if we don't remember them or know what they are for.

I started the process of moving and realized something new about myself. I am a pre-mourner. In anticipation of a new change or event I typically mourn before the change happens. This allowed me to move from sadness to excitement in perfect timing. I started asking God what promises He had for me in Lawrence and for specific things to be praying for. I was blown away by the words of life & encouragement the He gave me.

Thus I decided to transfer. I wasn't obligated or forced. But invited. The Creator asked me to risk with Him and promised to take care of my every step. I had no idea what to expect, but Jesus went before me. All my credits from Baylor transferred and I found a place to live with the sweetest roommates. Everything fell into place so smoothly and I was amazed at how Jesus provides for me so well. He truly does work every detail for our good.

Now that I have been here for a semester, I can confidently say this has been the most intimate season with Jesus I've ever had. He brought me to a place where I had to depend on Him. And it has been so worth it. I am truly thriving in this place and meeting Jesus in ways I never have before.

John 15:15-16 says "No longer I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you."

This truth has deeply changed & encouraged me. I have learned more of what friendship with Jesus looks like. He chooses to use me and invites me to use the gifts He's given me to further His kingdom. He has made known to me His vision and promises for this place and I love partnering with Him. What an honor to be on this adventure with my King.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thoughts on Gifts & Humility

James 1:17 says every good & perfect gift comes from above. Did you catch that? EVERY good gift comes from above. That means that everything good that we have or are comes from Jesus. So, the pretty sunlight coming in through my windows this morning was from Jesus. And so was the pink nail polish I found in my backpack. Even my ability to speak and listen is from Jesus. This changes things. When I truly believe that every good gift is from God then it changes the way I live my life. It creates thankfulness and dependency. Because without Jesus I am nothing.

I was recently encouraged by a conversation with Julie Steadman. I've had the privilege and honor of meeting with her this semester for discipleship. Ahhh what a delight! I've learned so much from this woman. This past Monday we talked about humility and recognizing that Jesus gives all things. Humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but more of God. It's recognizing that it's God that makes things happen; not me plus God. And it's realizing that everything good that we have comes straight from Him.

I've been reading Exodus in my time with God over the past week and was struck by these verses:"The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" (chapter 4 verses 11-12). Even our simple abilities to see, speak and hear are from God. So I can take credit for nothing. But rather than dwelling on my brokenness and insufficiency, instead this should point me to Jesus in thankfulness. Humility isn't making the most of our brokenness, but making the most of his capability. Wow, thank you God for giving me the ability to speak and for the spiritual & earthly gifts You have given me! He is truly good.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Firsts of Spring 2012

I love the first day of each month. I also love writing the date. I'm partial to lower numbers, so I love when the numbers start in the single digits again. Needless to say, I'm very excited that it's May 1st. What a sweet day it has been. I woke up this morning expectant and felt like the Lord told me to spend time with Him outside. I was greeted by pink peonies blooming in our front yard and proceeded to cut a few to put in our kitchen. (Flowers are my fav). As we enter the month of May many things are coming to a close: school, leases, finals, ect. But instead of reminding you all that we're close to the end, I thought I'd write about the many firsts I had this year.

1. I moved to Lawrence. That's a first.
2. I ran a half marathon. Whew, that was def a first.
3. I lived in my own room. (Which I actually enjoyed a lot).
4. I turned 21.
5. Thanks to the sweet & persistent Laura Stafford, I made my bed (almost) every morning without being asked.
6. I subscribed to a magazine. (Actually, my Dad used his frequent flyer miles to buy me a subscription to Time. I've been up on the news for the first time ev.)
7. I tried goat cheese ice-cream. Surprisingly good. I'd recommend it.
8. I went to a fish-fry.
9. My most frequent study spot was a grocery store.
10. I was 100% surprised for the first time in my life when my dear friend Bethany flew to Kansas for my birthday. I HAD NO CLUE. (Usually I have some sort of idea that something is going on).
11. I purchased and wore my first pair of Birkenstock sandals. Totes worth the investment.
12. I slept in a hammock.
13. Starbucks and I became real good friends.
14. I lived walking distance from Urban Outfitters. Supes dangerous.
15. I enjoyed doing school & homework.
16. I went to St. Louis.
17. I only made 2 music videos all semester. (Wish you were closer Lo Bear & Megs)
18. I wore top knots.
19. My new favorite color is orange. (Not the obnoxious construction color orange, but the neon-ish tangerine-y shade).
20. I got bangs. (This actually isn't a first, but the last two times I got bangs turned out to be disastrous mistakes. Just look at my Driver's License. Thus, this was the first time the bangs actually worked).
21. Speaking of driver's licenses, I'm currently driving with an expired one. Whoops.
22. I actually enjoyed & got into sports. What a year KU basketball! I'd say I'm a fan now. (Sorry, Dad).
23. Last weekend I got to take pictures of my little sis at her 1st prom! Can't believe she's that old!
24. I did my laundry just about weekly. That's a first.
25. I drank margaritas with my parents. SO WEIRD.
26. I never took off my watch all semester long. (Got a sweet tan line too).
27. I'm going to work at Kanakuk this summer.
28. I purchased and wore fake glasses.
29. I became the co-owner of a bed & breakfast (without the breakfast)... AKA The Loft. (We still got another few weeks here if ya want to stay!)
30. I was featured in the local newspaper. It wasn't really that exciting, but my picture and quote appeared!

I hope you enjoy the last few hours of May 1st!